In The Know...Chattin' It Up With Greg MacPherson

>> Tuesday, 6 April 2010

It’s always a buzzed-about event whenever local singer-songwriter Greg MacPherson releases an album; that it’s been five year since his latest LP, Night Flares, means the buzz is understandably deafening.

Saturday night at the West End Cultural Centre sees MacPherson launch his eagerly anticipated fourth album, Mr. Invitation. It is an evening of firsts for the seasoned musician: it’s his first full-length in half-a-decade, his first cd release at the beautifully revamped WECC, and it’s MacPherson’s debut under the banner of upstart Winnipeg label, Smallman Records. And, really, there’s no venue better suited for MacPherson’s devastating live show – his effusive punk-rock energy and commanding storyteller voice, backed by an always-tight band, have earned the singer-songwriter the reputation as one of Winnipeg’s most riveting live entities.

I recently spoke with MacPherson about the gap between records, his approach to this release, his band’s current lineup, and a few other things.

Painting Over Silence: First, it’s been five years since Night Flares was released – what have you  been up to over the past half-decade?

Greg MacPherson: When Night Flares came out I went on tour for the better part of three years. I lived out of a suitcase, slept on floors, traveled constantly and took every opportunity I could find to be on the road. I've always loved to travel but at the end of that stretch the novelty started to wear off and I figured it was time to do things differently. That shift in perspective coincided with my old record label, G7 Welcoming Committee Records, shutting down operations. I kept touring, writing and recording through the ensuing years but with a much more considered approach. I've also started playing in a few side projects and I think my music overall has progressed a good deal as a result.

PoS: How did your approach to writing and recording music for Mr. Invitation differ from previous outings? Did the end result match your vision?

GM: After Night Flares was released I started pushing myself to learn more about the production side of recording. I bought a computer and a couple of mics, recorded my own demos and really tried to demystify the process. As a result, making Mr. Invitation was really enjoyable for me. I was able to relax more than in previous sessions because I understood exactly what was going on and I could communicate my ideas more clearly. I also had Cam Leoppke and Shawn Dealey (the engineers at Prairie Recording) working with me and I can't say enough about the level of professionalism they brought to this process. In all honesty, I don't think this record could have been any more fun to make or have turned out any better.

PoS: Were there any tracks that didn’t make it onto the album? If so, do you have plans to release these songs at a later date, perhaps on a rarities compilation disc (or download)?

GM: There are a number of tracks that didn't make it onto the record. I wrote about 35 songs in advance of this recording and in the end we tracked 14 of them during the Mr. Invitation sessions. I believe Smallman will be releasing one of those, a song called Got It All Wrong as a digital download sometime in the next month or so... beyond that, there's talk that my European label, Play/Rec might want to release a whole new full length album of my music this fall, perhaps one or two of these extras from Mr. Invitation will make it out on that release.

PoS: Who is in your band these days?

GM: Steve Bates has been a recording (and occasional performing) member of my band for over 10 years. He played guitar and lap top on this record and wrote the music for track two, Outside Edge. Mike Germain has been playing bass and lead guitar with me for about 8 years. Ryan Ahoff's been our drummer since 2007. Jason Tait has been playing drums on my recordings since 1999 and he appears on a number of these latest tracks as well.

PoS: What’s the meaning behind the album title, Mr. Invitation?

GM: I usually try not to explain this kind of thing, it's much more interesting to leave things open ended and let the listener figure things out for themselves. That said, in a nut shell the title of the record refers to the capacity of human beings to be both good and evil, dependable and unpredictable, intelligent and self destructive. Mr. Invitation could be your best friend, someone who invites you to a party, someone who robs you in the street. Mr. Invitation could be me or you. We're all capable of greatness and we're all capable of brutality. I personally like to think that we're all inclined to be productive and positive creatures most of the time though.

PoS: And finally, what are your plans for the summer?

GM: Play some festivals, do a tour out to the west coast, maybe release a recording with my side band, Nova.

Tickets for Saturday night’s show are available at Music Trader or Ticketmaster. Get them soon…before this sells out. Local act The Playing Cards open.  


Young Icelander,  7 April 2010 at 10:21  

Looking forward to this show!

Anonymous,  7 April 2010 at 13:22  


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